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Southern Yemenis rally for independence

© AFP/File | Yemeni supporters of the southern separatist movement wave the movement's flag during a rally calling for independence of the south, in Aden in May 2017

ADEN (AFP) - 

Thousands of Yemenis demanding southern secession rallied in the streets of Aden on Friday, waving the flag of the formerly independent south in their third protest since May.

Protesters marched through central Aden, Yemen's second city and home to the war-ravaged country's government.

They chanted their support for the South Transitional Council and demanded the independence of south Yemen, which was an independent state until 1990 when it was unified with North Yemen.

The South Transition Council, an autonomous body aimed at overseeing self-governance among southern provinces, was declared in May and is not recognised by the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The 26-member council includes the governors of five southern provinces and two cabinet ministers.

Aden serves as a temporary base for the Hadi government as the capital Sanaa has been held by Huthi rebels since September 2014.

Hadi is himself based in Riyadh, having fled Aden in March 2015 as the Shiite rebels closed in on his refuge.

More than 8,000 people have been killed in the past two years and tens of thousands wounded in the war in Yemen, according to the World Health Organization.

© 2017 AFP